How to tread forward...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Backroads, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Mar 4, 2016

    My odd class this year got a little odder a few weeks' back when a parent demanded a student be pulled from another 2nd grade class into mine, due to issues with the teacher. Happily enough, the kid seems happier in my classroom.

    However, this kid is at an early kindergarten level in pretty much everything. I had heard the other teacher's side of the story and was also a little concerned by the parents' notes in his folder. We had his conference today, and I was rather apprehensive about it. I decided to go into the conference with the intent to mostly listen, admit the kid had just barely arrived in my classroom and that I was still getting to know him, and just let Mom talk and tell me what I needed to know about her son. I had a few work examples and assessments, but it was mostly letting Mom explain her position and her son. I feel things went nicely.

    So, the issues:

    Once again, this kid is very low. His former teachers (the one from this year and from first grade) have been trying to work with him and he is officially receiving interventions. However, both his former teachers are older, old-school, and less tactful women, if I'm to be perfectly honest. From his other teacher this year, she told me she would try to pull him aside to work with him, give him work on his level, etc. Apparently this boy hates to be singled out and feel like he's not working with the group. (Once again, please note this quite a tough old bird of a teacher.)

    Mom's notes and what she told me at the conference was that her son is in fact very smart and highly intelligent, but needs to be treated just so. I showed her the boy's most recent DIBELS scores, taken about a week before he moved to my room. There was some nice improvement from the beginning of the year, but Mom says she's going to request permission from the principal to have him tested again on DIBELS, now that he's in my room. His writing samples were mainly his dictation, me with a highlighter, and him tracing--Mom tried to tell me this is perfectly normal for second grade. So on and so forth with every subject.

    He's really a cute kid, and he has apparently really opened up in my classroom. But if I were to gamble and simplify the problems as presented to me, the parents seem to be in denial about this kid's academic performance. They agreed to the interventions, but I don't think they quite get just where this kid is in comparison to the rest of the 2nd grade. My guess is they hated the idea he was being pulled aside for extra help in a way they saw as insensitive singling out (again, not the most tactful teachers.) They wanted to find a way to write off all his work as average for 2nd grade.

    Now, I am well aware giftedness can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but I don't think this kid is there.

    I want this to be a positive classroom for this kid and I want a good relationship with the parents. But I also want to find a way to work with this kid without being accused of "singling him out" and be on the same page as the parents as to where his abilities lie.
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    When I had a third grader who barely knew basic sight words and I let his mother know that some of his classmates were reading Harry Potter, it was what it took for the mother to stop blaming the school and acknowledge that he had a problem. She went on to take him for a full barrage of assessments at Boston Children's Hospital. It isn't the way I would ordinarily approach the issue, but, in this case, it was a successful last resort.
     
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  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I would call Mom back in for another conference and show her what an average second grader is doing. Pull work samples from an average kid in your room, remove their name, and show her side by side how her child is performing compared to where they should be.
     
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  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    One of my worries is that I'll be the next teacher called in for a meeting with her because of her son's work. There's so much bad blood between her and the prior teachers.
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think it's also helpful to send home to all parents something that shows exactly what students should know in an inarguable way. For example, send a sample of a standardized test and have parents work through it with their kids as homework.
     
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  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I understand your concern, but a well-prepared for meeting might be the right thing. As others have said, get samples from other students without their names. Show average work and higher level work. Show her son's work in comparison. Make sure she understands that you do believe he is intelligent (you don't have to even discuss the gifted or lack of gifted because only 2% of people are considered gifted which still leaves a lot of intelligent people out there). Give examples of ways he does show intelligence so you get her on your side. Once there, explain that there is a discrepancy of skills which can happen and you both need to work together to find a way to get her child the extra help he needs to get those skills more in line with his intelligence. Two prong approach will be needed. She needs to help her son learn that getting extra help is not a bad thing but a good thing. Your side needs to figure out where he is lacking and why.

    I wouldn't be afraid of a meeting even if doesn't go the way you want. You just need a good game plan to present the needed information, gain her trust because you both want him to be successful, and let her know that you do believe in her child.
     
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  8. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Agreed. Getting the parent on your side totally eliminates the need for her to be defended.
     
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  9. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I did leave yesterday's conference feeling she liked me (or at least my approach) and she did say her son is enjoying school now. Hopefully we can remain on the same page.
     
  10. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I don't see a problem with pulling a child aside to work with them one on one. I feel you are judging other teachers.
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Have you showed them where the other kids are? I find it helps to show work from other kids. For example, if he is below in writing, show student examples of where the average student is right now. With reading, share where most students are. This typically helps to make it clearer where the issues are.
     
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  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I don't have a problem with it and do not mean to make it sound like I do. I pull kids aside all the time.

    However, the mother in question does not want her child pulled aside for 1-on-1 time because it makes him feel "singled out" and apparently affects his brilliance. However, she also claims the prior teachers were mean, and knowing these women and their personalities, I suppose I can understand where this mother and boy might be misreading things.

    We're barely getting away with pulling him out for the interventions the parents agreed to, but lots of kids have to come with him.
     

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